‘It’s wonderful to be here, it’s certainly a thrill. You’re such a lovely audience, we’d like to take you home with us,’ sang the Beatles on their masterpiece Sergeant Pepper, the album that serves as the inspiration for this week’s special 10th anniversary cover. And it’s true. It is indeed thrilling to be part of the Australian media landscape, and the readership that The Spectator Australia can now boast after ten years on these shores is truly a wonderful one. As our editor discovered recently at a televised event in rural Queensland, where an enthusiastic crowd of avid Speccie readers excitedly and proudly brandished their copies of that week’s magazine at the cameras like teenagers at a Fab Four concert, The Spectator Australia has indeed found a special home in the hearts and minds of a vast range of readers across the nation. Young and old. Rich and poor. Right and left. (Well, OK, maybe a just a smidgen more right than left). In print and online.
In this our 10th anniversary issue, regular and original columnists, Neil Brown, James Allan and David Flint and former editor Tom Switzer look back at some of the key political issues and themes we’ve tackled since 2008. We’ve also included a taste of just some of the iconic covers that have so amused, enraged, provoked, shocked and titillated over the past decade.
And what a ten years it has been. Four, oops, scratch that, five prime ministers have now graced our covers. Battles have been fought, won, re-lost and now hopefully will be won again on the major political convolution of our time, climate change. Alone among the mainstream media, The Spectator Australia has steadfastly refused to bow to the greatest quasi-religious, quasi-socialist economic and political hoax of our era. We have also been at the forefront of the ongoing battle for free speech, repeatedly calling for the abolition not only of the iniquitous section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, but also for the dismantling of the Human Rights machinery and its sinister handmaiden, corporate and bureaucratic political correctness. In the wake of the coup that brought down Tony Abbott – something we still believe was an egregious error – the concept of the ‘del-cons’, or ‘dis-cons’, took root in these pages. Indeed, on the topic of the leftwards lurch of the once proudly conservative Liberal party, this magazine has not only been a critic but also, more importantly, has been uniquely prescient in its political analysis of where such ructions would lead to.
The great columnists that have adorned our pages are far too numerous to mention all by name, but special praise and thanks to Peter Coleman, Neil, James and David mentioned above, as well as regular contributors and columnists Giles Auty, Mark Latham, John Stone, Terry Barnes, Michael Baume, Donald McDonald, Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, Simon Collins, Hal G. P. Colebatch, Ross Fitzgerald, Bella d’Abrera, Tony Letford, Chris Akehurst, Gary Johns, Stephen Loosley, Chrstian Kerr, Andrew L. Urban and many, many other great talents. (Please don’t yell if we left you out!) Special thanks also to Sam Thawley for the superb annual Spectator Australia Thawley Essay Prize (now in its fifth year – with this year’s essay theme soon to be announced.) Our gratitude as well to the Pratt Foundation for their ongoing assistance and contribution to our success.
Special mention also to all those writers and contributors to our terrific and hugely popular online magazine Flat White, now in its third year, and a key player in the day-to-day drama of political and cultural commentary.
Looking back is an important and fun part of any anniversary, but the challenge is of course looking forward.
Australia sits at a crossroads. So, too, do the Liberal party and its new leadership team. The seeming dominance now of all our major political, corporate and public institutions by the forces of the Left has taken mainstream Australians by surprise, ushering in a world of neo-Marxist beliefs and collectivist values that would make a proud Bolshevik blush. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, this push must not only be resisted but reversed. This is our task. We will tackle it with perception, intelligence, wit and common sense.
Although we are so far impressed with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and his clear espousal of key conservative values, the reality is that the Liberal party has been riven in two by the Turnbull coup and the healing will be long, painful and arduous. Climate change and energy are the anvil upon which the success or failure of the Morrison government will be forged. Installing Angus Taylor in the energy role, with a clear brief to exclude carbon emissions from his calculations, was a major step forward. It is critical that the government resist the siren calls from not only Labor, the Greens, the EU and the UN, but even more insidious and dangerous, from its own ‘bedwetters’ and luvvy Libs. That way lies economic disaster and political doom.
And on that cheery note – roll on the next ten years of The Spectator Australia. We are sharpening our pens: a splendid time is guaranteed for all!